Friday, June 9, 2017

God Does Not Reside in “The Shack”

It’s no surprise that mankind continues its desire to “connect” with God. That’s been going on since the days of Adam and Eve. There are no shortages of man-made gods or religions all designed to fulfill that deep longing to “connect” with God. Men and women have written innumerable volumes attempting to describe, define, and explain or even to contain God so that mankind may better be able to “connect” with Him.

One of the latest attempts comes in the form of a book and, now, a movie, “The Shack.” The book was released almost ten years ago in 2007, the movie in March of 2017, almost ten years later. When the book first came out, I was given a copy and asked to read it and share my opinion of it with the person who gave it to me.

Since the book was first published, much has been written as to what this book is and what it is not. Many scholars and theologians have rightly critiqued and compared this book to the Bible. They have well documented the theological errors, heresies and doctrinal inaccuracies found in “The Shack” and those writings are still available online.

It’s interesting that the movie has come out ten years later. It seems odd that so much time has passed and now it returns to a new audience in the form of a visual story as opposed to a written one. Our culture has become so entrenched in visual form of entertainment that, perhaps, those responsible for the film are simply seeking to cash in on another form of entertainment.

For believers, to read or not read this book, to see or not see the movie, is your own personal choice. However, there are some things to remember and pay close attention to:

  • By the authors own admission, “The Shack” is a novel, which, by definition is fiction, that means it's a made up story, and, therefore, not real. Fiction allows the author to have as much creative license as he/she desires. The point to remember is that “The Shack” is fiction. Therefore, any attempt to connect this fictional work with the God of the Bible is silly at best and dangerous at worst.
  • For believers, and unbelievers who really want to “connect” with the one and only God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all creation, there is only one book that will allow you to better know Him, and that is the Bible, the Word of God.

Bookstores are filled with books written by men and women, most with good intent, who desire to “explain” God to the average person. Many, many people purchase these books, again, with good intent, with the desire to “connect” with God.

What is fascinating is that so many people are so willing to spend their hard-earned money on books written about God by men and women rather than to simply open and read the one book that was written by God Himself, their very own Bibles.

If your desire is to “connect” with the one true God, to better understand Who He really is, a good place to start is by reading and studying the last four chapters of the Book of Job, chapters 38-41. It is in these chapters that you will learn about the One and only all knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God.

There is no shortage of books written in an effort to educate people about God. There is only one book written by the One whom we are all trying to know better, it’s called the Bible. Sadly, the level of interest in reading and studying it, as opposed to other books, is far too low, especially as we are seeing what’s happening in our country and around the world.

The apostle Paul wrote the following to Timothy, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (1 Timothy 4:1-4). Paul’s words have never been more appropriate than in our day and time. Be careful what you read; be careful what to accept as “truth” about God.

“The Shack” is fiction; the Bible is absolute truth. “The Shack” is entertainment at best; the Bible is God’s Word written by Him through His Holy Spirit to reveal mankind’s desperate need for a Savior. “The Shack” is the product of the author’s imagination, admittedly fiction; the Bible is nothing less than God revealing His attributes, His character, His love for mankind, and, most importantly, the revelation of Himself through the Person of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The God of the Bible does not reside in “The Shack.” He resides in His heaven and, by His Holy Spirit, in the lives of every true believer.

May the Lord bless you as you seek to learn more about Him from His Word.

By His Grace,
Dr. Gary T. Dromi

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Mal Couch Legacy Collection - Complete!

It is with great joy that I share with all of you that the last book in "The Mal Couch Legacy Collection, Theology:  The God of the Bible", is now complete and available for purchase on Amazon along with the other five books.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be the editor of this wonderful project.  As many of you know, Dr. Couch was an amazing servant of God who touched the lives of countless numbers of people through his founding of Tyndale Theological Seminary, through his teaching, through his books and through so many other areas of his life. 

His legacy and his passion for God and the truth of God’s Word, live on through his students and his writings. 

All six of the books in The Mal Couch Legacy Collection are outstanding works that can be used for personal study, group study or the discipleship of believers wherever they may be in their spiritual walk with our Lord.

I would recommend that the books be read in the following sequence: (1) The Doctrine of Sin; (2) The Doctrine of Salvation; (3) The Doctrine of the Church; (4) God Has Spoken; (5) The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit; (6) Theology: The God of the Bible.  This sequence will give you an excellent flow of the problem of man’s sinful condition, God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, what, exactly, is the Church, a powerful look at God’s recorded Word, an explanation of who the Holy Spirit truly is, His ministry and His role in the salvation of people, and finally, a look who God really is, as He has revealed Himself through the Bible.

May the Lord bless you as you continue to grow in grace and knowledge through these outstanding books left to us by Dr. Mal Couch.

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.
“… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

Monday, March 14, 2016

What In the World Is Going On? The Mal Couch Legacy Collection

Dr. Mal Couch (1938-2013) was the founder and president of Tyndale Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was the head of Scofield Ministries located in Clifton, Texas, the pastor of Clifton Bible Church, and the author and general editor for over forty commentaries, theologies, and prophecy volumes. His book, Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, received the coveted Silver Medallion Award from the Christian Booksellers Association. He held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies, Bible and Greek from John Brown University, a Master of Arts degree with honors from Wheaton Graduate School, a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Philosophy from Arkansas Biblical Graduate School, and a Doctor of Theology from Louisiana Baptist Seminary. He taught in the fields of church history, systematic theology, Biblical Hebrew, and New Testament Greek.

The Doctrine of Sin
If you were fortunate enough to be able to spend any time with Dr. Couch, you were blessed by his contagious love of the Word of God, his steadfast belief in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture and his desire to train men and women to become exegetes of God’s Word. His impact upon countless numbers of students, throughout his lifetime, is incalculable.

 I was one of those blessed students. From the time I first met Dr. Couch in 1994 and began to take classes at Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute, until the Lord called him home to his reward, he was always interested in me, personally, and the churches at which I was serving. When needing advice, Dr. Couch was my “go to” person. If I didn’t check in with him for an extended length of time, he would call the church to see how I was doing.

There are countless other people, around the world, whose lives have been deeply impacted by Dr. Mal Couch. And that impact continues through a series of five books that were written by Dr. Couch, four of which were never officially published.

Dr. Lacy Couch has given to me the incredible privilege and honor of proofreading and editing what is being called: The Mal Couch Legacy Collection. These four manuscripts, once completed, will all be converted into e-book format and published on Amazon, where so many of Dr. Couch’s other books are now available.

The Mal Couch Legacy Collection, when completed, will consist of the following titles: The Doctrine of Sin, The Doctrines of Salvation and the Church, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, A Systematic Theology and God Has Spoken (which was originally published by AMG Publishers but not in e-book format). These five books will be a part of Dr. Couch’s amazing legacy.

It gives me great joy to know that theology students will soon have access to all of these outstanding works. The Doctrine of Sin is completed and available for purchase on Amazon as an e-book for $6.99. Here’s a description:
The Doctrine of Sin. No theology text is complete without a thorough study of how humanity has so departed from God. One of the words least used in our modern culture is “sin.” Our society prefers any other definition to describe the evil actions of human beings. The word sin goes straight to the teachings of the Word of God about the nature of man. To keep our spiritual sanity, and to be able to find our way again, we must examine the scriptural teaching about the nature and the pervasiveness of evil and sin, but then focus on God’s answer as found only in the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Doctrines of Salvation and the Church will be the next book to be published. It is presently being proofread, edited and formatted. When it is complete, there will be an announcement placed on the Scofield Prophecy Studies website.

The remaining titles will become available as I complete the process of proofreading, editing and converting them to e-book format.

The Mal Couch Legacy Collection is sure to be a blessing to all those who love God and His holy Word. Those who want to know God must know His Word. Dr. Couch, once again, helps us to do that through these final works of his life.

May the Lord give us the grace, strength and courage to stand firmly for His Word, in a day when so many churches are abandoning the deep teaching of the Scriptures, in favor of something more entertaining.

By His Grace,
Dr. Gary T. Dromi

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What In the World Is Going On? Wanted: Truth, Honesty and Integrity

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!”
(Isaiah 5:20-21).

If you have been paying any attention to the world of politics for the last 8-9 years, you have undoubtedly noticed that something is missing: truth, honesty and integrity.

The current administration is undergoing numerous investigations for everything from a U.S. Ambassador being murdered in Benghazi, to the improper handling of classified emails, to the Internal Revenue Service being used to silence those who would dare to disagree with a sitting president, to deals being made with Iran (the number one sponsor of Islamic terrorists and their attacks), to the Veterans Administration being so corrupt that some men and women were not able to receive proper treatment which resulted in their death.

Has anyone been held accountable? Has anyone been charged with a crime? Has anyone lost his or her six-figure government salary? Where is the truth? Where is honesty? Where is integrity?

It seems as though some politicians, on both sides of the aisle (Republican and Democrat), have forgotten why they were elected. For some, it has simply become a way to amass more financial security for themselves and a means to exercise political power and position.

There was time in our country’s history when serving as a representative of the people was an honorable, noble and selfless task. Things have changed, but we shouldn’t be too surprised. A majority of those who are running our country will readily say, “God bless America” with no idea Who He is or what He requires. A majority of those running the country have acquiesced to the loud voices of sinful people who don’t want God at the center of their world or this country. And, once again, those same loud voices are screaming to remove “In God we trust” from all of our currency. This is not new but now they have momentum on their side.

There’s an old saying: “Politics isn’t everything; but it is in everything.” That saying is both true and sad. Perhaps the saddest part of that statement is that there is politics even in churches, the one place where God and His Word should be honored and obeyed above all else. The verses above, Isaiah 5:20-21, seem to fit the time in which we are living. The world, as whole, has rejected the God of the Bible in favor of countless other gods of their own making. For those who reject the God of Scripture, they can use a relativistic scale (instead of God’s absolute scale) to determine what is good and what is evil. Each person can be “wise in their own eyes” and choose what’s acceptable to them without regard for the One who created them.

Politics and religion are two of the most divisive topics known to man. It is no exaggeration to say that friends and family members have parted ways due to the heated discussions that occur with regard to these two subjects.

First, let me encourage you by saying that God is still in charge. No one has, or ever will, knock Him off of His throne. Jesus is still the Savior of the world and He is still interceding for the saints. The Holy Spirit is still at work convicting individuals of sin and drawing them to the Father through grace and faith.

Second, as this next presidential election gets closer, remember that we are ambassadors for Christ. Certainly share your political opinions, but remember to keep a loving attitude towards those with whom you may disagree. It may very well be that a loving attitude will open the door to share Christ with a lost and dying world.

May the Lord bless you as you seek to serve Him in this New year.

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.

Monday, December 21, 2015

What In the World Is Going On? Overcoming the World

Peace on earth? Good will towards men? Some would question that those things exist in our world today, and with good reasons. We have watched as Islamic jihadist terrorists have wreaked havoc in virtually every part of the world, killing and injuring hundreds of innocent people. We have seen what happens when “political correctness” takes precedence over common sense and facts in evidence. For reasons that are baffling at best and fatally dangerous at worst, our country’s leader(s) has chosen to ignore or suppress the truth regarding an Islamic caliphate and those who are seeking to perpetuate its increase in size and geography.

History tells us that the religion known as “Islam” has always spread by the sword. The current generation of power seeking Muslim jihadists is not presenting anything new. What’s most frustrating is that our leaders refuse to acknowledge it and continue to make up excuses for their barbaric behavior. Cutting someone’s head off with a knife; burning people alive inside of a cage; throwing people from the tops of buildings; modern day crucifixions; raping little girls and women; all of this done in the name of a religion known as “Islam” and its prophet, Muhammad.

People have been clamoring for peace for hundreds of years, yet peace is the last thing we seem to have in our world today.

The economic situation around the globe has investors extremely cautious. We have seen the stock market decline consistently for months. Some of our political leaders are being investigated, and indicted, for criminal behavior, thinking that somehow, they are above the law. Unemployment is high; there has been rioting on the streets of Missouri and elsewhere; and there is very little trust in our governing officials, as time and time again, they have proven themselves to be inept or incompetent.

Wasn’t that an uplifting way to start this Christmas season? Keep reading, please.

Shortly before Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, He said to His disciples:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

There it is ~ “in the world, you will have tribulation.” What I take from this is, don’t be surprised or fearful about what is happening all around us. Jesus confirms that that is what is going to happen. This is the rule, not the exception. This is the norm.

Believers are not supposed to seek peace in this world because it is filled with sin and sin brings tribulation, sorrow, sadness, evil, and all sorts of terrible crimes against humanity.

Believers are to seek peace in their right relationship with Jesus. Notice what He says, “that in Me you may have peace.” The peace that Jesus is speaking of is a peace between all believers, and our holy, heavenly Father. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, there has been made available to all believers forgiveness of sin, mercy, grace and a “cessation of wrath,” and that is the definition of peace. It is an inner peace, a spiritual peace.

Why is that true? Jesus tells us to “take courage, [because] I have overcome the world.” Jesus has defeated sin and death through the cross and His resurrection. He overcame the forces of evil and provides a way out of sin and separation from God for anyone who will believe and receive Him as their personal Savior.

In His high priestly prayer, Jesus defined eternal life, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3).

There will never be peace in this world until Jesus returns to rule and reign during His Millennial Kingdom. Until that happens, living under this world-system will always bring trials and tribulation, sin and sorrow.

So the question is, do you know the only true God and Jesus Christ, His Son whom “the Father sent to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14)?

There is no greater gift that can be received than “the gift of God,” which is eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Let us keep an eternal perspective. This is not our home. We are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20a). This world is just layover on our way to our heavenly Father’s house.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, our Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, may the peace that passes understanding, found only in Jesus, guard your hearts and minds.

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

By His Grace,
Dr. Gary T. Dromi

Monday, October 26, 2015

What In The World Is Going On? Thoughts on Bravery and Courage

In western culture, words have been being redefined for the last few decades. For example: In the 1960's “bad” meant good rather than something to be avoided. The word; “gay” has been redefined to mean homosexual rather than happy or joyful. The word “sick” means outstanding or amazing rather than an illness or a perversion.

There are, obviously, many other examples.

Two words that are now being redefined are: “brave” and “courageous.” Criminal behavior, such as looting or stealing from shop owners during recent riots are now being redefined as “brave” or “courageous” rather than as vandalism and stealing.

Criticizing and personally attacking someone (verbally and physically) because they hold to traditional, biblical values is now considered “brave” or “courageous” by so-called "progressive" individuals.

The postmodern mindset of our culture, with its relativistic mantra, has only made this redefining of words that much simpler because for the postmodern mind, there are no absolute truths. Each person is encouraged to define truth in whatever way it suits him or her best. The deviations, magnetic or otherwise, of one’s moral compass are largely ignored because, for the relativist, there is no “true north” from which a proper calibration of right and wrong can be achieved.

It’s been said that if a lie is told often enough, and left unchallenged, it will soon become the new truth. History has proven this to be true all too often.

Food for Thought: Bravery is being the second person to be asked “Are you a Christian?” after having just watched the first Christian being shot in the head and responding, “Yes, I am.”

A brave man dies only once; but a coward dies a thousand times.

It is neither brave nor courageous to snipe from a place of anonymity.

It is neither brave nor courageous to be an arrogant know-it-all when, in fact, this type of person is nothing more than a manipulative, self-centered person who preys upon emotionally weak individuals to shore up their own emotional insecurities.

It is neither brave nor courageous to use sarcasm as a form of humor, as sarcasm shrouds a deep-seated anger, immaturity, insecurity and unforgiveness that the person has not the courage to face.

It is neither brave nor courageous to be critical of the job that someone else is doing if: (1) You don’t have the education, experience or skills to do the job yourself; (2) You have never done the job with any degree of success; (3) You are not willing to step up and take on the responsibilities of the job and do it yourself.

True bravery and courage is never self-proclaimed.

History has taught us over and over again that freedom is not free. It must be fought for, protected and preserved with vigilance, determination and self-sacrifice. When push comes to shove, the ultimate protectors of freedom and liberty are the brave men and women in our armed forces. Throughout the history of the United States, they have answered the call with bravery, courage and sacrifice. Were it not for their bravery, the pseudo-intelligencia would not be able to criticize -- with immunity -- without ever having lifted a finger (or shed one drop of their own blood) to defend the very freedom that they exercise in such an arrogant and condescending manner.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).

Monday, September 21, 2015

What In the World Is Going On? The Pope vs. the Scriptures

The battle between Roman Catholic theology and its traditions vs. Biblical truth (given to us by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through the prophets and apostles) has been raging since before the time of the Reformation. This article is in no way attempting to resolve that dispute.

This article is being presented in order to look at what Scripture says with regard to forgiveness of any and all sin, with only one exception – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (a subject for another article).

Having been raised as a Roman Catholic for the first 19 years of my life and having attended Roman Catholic schools for 12 years, the issue of forgiveness being granted by a mere man wearing a black, white or red robe was one of many issues that caused me to, literally, walk out of St. Patrick’s Church 40 years ago. By God’s gracious calling, He led me to the truth of His Word, for which I am eternally grateful.

Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church around the world, is once again in the news. According to the Wall Street Journal (Sept.1, 2015):
“Pope Francis will make it easier for the [Roman] Catholic Church to forgive women for having had abortions, one of several outreaches planned during a “year of mercy” starting in December . . . . .”

“Under church law, anyone who willingly participates in an abortion—including the pregnant woman, the abortion provider and any assistants—incurs automatic excommunication, which normally can be lifted only by the local bishop.”

“But in a letter, the pope said he would grant all Catholic priests authority to ‘absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.’”

“The power to lift the excommunications would extend during the year of mercy, which starts Dec. 8 and ends Nov. 20, 2016. The church observes so-called jubilee years for pardons and the remission of sins every 25 years and on other occasions designated by the pope . . . .”
The question becomes, is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church the arbiter/dispenser of forgiveness? Or is real forgiveness made available, solely, through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary?

The Truth from Jesus and the Apostles:
The Scripture passages below speak Truth with regard to sin and its complete forgiveness for the true believer in Jesus as their Savior:
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:31-32).

“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin — because they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit’” (Mark 3:28-30).

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (Romans 3:21-25a).

“In Him [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8a).

“For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

“. . . but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:8-14).

As is clear from these few passages, the true believer in Jesus Christ, the person who is, by faith alone, trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection as the means to obtain forgiveness for sin, all of their sin has been forgiven and, by God’s grace, they have been given the free gift of eternal life (Eph. 2:8-9).

This gracious forgiving work of God cannot be performed by or carried out by any man or woman as a representative of any denomination. To make that claim is to call God a liar. No human being has the “authority to absolve” people of their sin. To make that claim is to elevate an individual to a position of equality with God. No wonder the Reformers were so polemic in their writings and discussions with the Church of Rome.

If you are a true believer, struggling because you participated in some way in taking the life of an innocent unborn child, know that there is forgiveness and freedom from guilt and shame. That freedom and forgiveness can only be found in coming before God with a humble and contrite heart in honest confession of sin.

Reconciliation has already been accomplished for the believer (Romans 8:1). Grab a hold of the truths of God’s Word and know that you are forgiven. The Father completely accepted the sacrifice of His Son on behalf of all those who will believe and receive Christ as their Savior.

If you are not a believer in Jesus as your personal Savior, your struggle with guilt and shame will go on until you recognize that you are sinner in need of forgiveness for all your sins. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He is the one who suffered, died and rose from the dead on your behalf. He is the one who took your sin upon Himself so that you could be forgiven, restored to a right relationship with God and receive the free gift of eternal life.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart” (Hebrews 3:15).

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.